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To the editor:
In response to the state’s continuing fiscal plunge, Gov. Dannel Malloy recently announced additional funding cuts, $58.5 million of which will impact, yet again, Connecticut hospitals and health care.
The legislature had a special session in June to revisit the Democrats’ new taxes on employers and their proposed cuts to hospitals. While the Democrats refused to cut spending or repeal their latest tax hikes, they did agree to rescind most of the hospital cuts. Last month, however, the governor decided to put the cuts back into the budget under his authority to make adjustments in times of fiscal crisis.
Following another public outcry and pressure applied by Republicans, the governor restored some aid to small hospitals. Notably, all of these hospital cuts derive from Connecticut’s unique "hospital tax" scheme, where the state levies a tax on hospitals' profits, then redistributes this money back to them, which in turn triggers an increase in our federal Medicaid reimbursement, which are managed by the state.
The recent budgets, however, have increased spending every year and have simply kept more of the hospital tax money to pay for this spending binge -- thus turning the hospital tax into a pure tax with no benefit to the hospitals and no corresponding federal reimbursement to our state.
The governor now seeks to keep another $58.5 million of the hospital tax, which will in turn negate any corresponding Medicaid reimbursement while increasing our hospitals' net state tax liability by approximately $250 million this fiscal year and almost $485 million annually going forward.
We need to stop our government’s continuing assault on hospital funding. It is shameful to pass measures to address mental health issues and health care for the vulnerable one day, only to cut the funding later to pay for Hartford’s reckless spending habits.
Talk is cheap, but taking care of the sick and less fortunate is not. Once again, our Democratic colleagues' fiscal mismanagement has led to bad public policy and another negative impact on our communities.
State Rep. John Shaban
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